iOS up, Android down in the US as Windows Phone hits eight percent in Europe

iOS up, Android down in the US as Windows Phone hits eight percent in Europe

Summary: Nokia's low-end smartphones are making a dent in Europe, but they're having little impact in the US.


Low-end Nokia smartphoes have helped Windows Phone grab eight percent of smartphone sales in Europe's five major markets, but the would-be third platform to Android and iOS is struggling to move the needle in the US, according to new figures.

Android and iOS dominance of smartphone sales in all markets remains unshakeable, but Microsoft's mobile platform reached new heights in the three months to July 2013 in Europe, making up 8.2 percent of sales across UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, according to the latest figures by Kantar World Panel. At the same time last year, Windows Phone accounted for 4.9 percent of sales in the five major markets.

Meanwhile in Europe, iOS accounted for 17.9 percent of smartphone sales, up from 14.8 percent last year, while Android climbed to 69.1 percent, up from 66.2 percent. BlackBerry meanwhile continued to slide, falling from 6.7 percent in the same period last year to 2.4 percent.

The bulk of new Windows Phone customers are not former iOS or Android consumers, but rather former feature phone owners who are less interested in Nokia's high-end devices like the Lumia 920 and 1020 than low-priced devices like the Lumia 520, which on a plan sell from £60 in the UK.

"Windows Phone's success has been in convincing first time smartphone buyers to choose one of its devices with 42 percent of sales over the past year coming from existing featurephone owners. This is a much higher proportion than Android and iOS. The Lumia 520 is hitting a sweet spot, offering the price and quality that new smartphone buyers are looking for," wrote Dominic Sunnebo, the firm's global consumer insight director.

In February, Kantar reported that first time buyers represented 47 percent of Windows Phone sales, while in the UK 17 percent of new Windows Phone owners had switched from Android. Now Kantar says that only 27 percent of Apple and Android users change their OS and those that do tend to move between the two OSes.

Sunnebo sees the feature phone owners becoming the "new battleground" over the next year, although in some developed markets like the UK, smartphone penetration has already hit 66 percent. Microsoft previously estimated there were still four billion feature phone owners in the world.

First-time buyers aren't having the same impact for Windows Phone in the all important US market, where the platform only made minor gains, reaching 3.5 percent of sales — up only 0.5 points — despite Nokia and Microsoft ramping up advertising and launching exclusive US devices with so-called "hero status" such as the Lumia 928.

The biggest gains in the US were made by Apple, with iOS up 7.8 percentage points year on year to 43.4 percent of sales in the three months to July 2013, according to Kantar. Android meanwhile fell from 58.7 percent of sales to 51.1 percent of US sales, as did BlackBerry, which declined from 1.9 percent year on year to 1.2 percent.

Windows Phone sales in Mexico were up from two percent last year to 12.5 percent in the latest period, but consumers in the increasingly important Chinese market aren't biting at Microsoft's platform: Windows Phone sales in China declined from 4.6 percent last year to 2.4 percent, according to Kantar.

In China, Android accounts for 70 percent of sales, up from 60.1 percent, followed by iOS, which declined 3.9 percent.  

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Topics: Smartphones, Android, iOS, Windows Phone

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Never ever

    I live in Germany where KWP claims a Windows market share of 8,8%, which equals nearly every tenth smartphone. How does it come I never saw a Windows phone in the wild then?
    The Lumia 520 is really a big deal for Nokia, especially given the fact Nokia looses 60$ with each device saled.
    • amendment

      BTW: I even though a Blackberry Q10 in the wild. And loads of Android devices, and iphones. But, really, no WP8 phone. Indeed, I recently saw someone using a Lumia 800...
    • Actual stats beats low observational skills

    • Stats are not always right

      But they often tend to beat personal observations :)

      Also from the article, it seems users from WP are not heavy users as they are coming from a feature phone, they are probably using their smartphones mainly for making... phone calls - it's harder to see them that way.
    • Why haven't you seen a Windows Phone

      Maybe it's a regional thing? Maybe you haven't seen them because you're not stalking people and looking at their phones? (could be wrong with that one)

      I've only seen a single iPhone 5 in the real world, that doesn't mean Apple hasn't been selling a lot of them.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • How would you even know? If someones

      looking at websites or playing wwf or angry birds or watching a sporting event or video or any of a million other things you can't tell what os they're using. WP users don't spend all their time on the start screen just so you can get a count of them. They're there, in steadily growing numbers. Maybe it's just too much for you to process and it's safer for you to remain in denial.
      Johnny Vegas
    • What's your source for claiming Nokia loses

      money on the 520? Nokia is the master at making a profit on their low end high volume devices it's hard to believe you didn't just make this up. Can you back that up with a credible link?
      Johnny Vegas
      • Re: Nokia is the master at making a profit

        What is your source for these claims?

        if Nokia were masters of making profits out of cheap phones, why would they ever need WP?
        • Because they do not wish to suffer the fate

          that some Android phone makers are starting to suffer?
          John Zern
      • In recent times Nokia just posted a profit in one quarter

        And it was when they sold the headquarters.
        I guess we can say they are still losing money with smartphones.
    • You can't believe

      You can't believed 8% increase but you can believe Apple selling 36m phones every 4 months?
    • there is an explanation

      Those statistics shows phones purchased, or rather, phones sent to the sellers from the manufacturers. It is entirely possible those phones are just sitting somewhere and people continue to carry their Symbian Nokia.

      A colleague for whom I personally purchased a Windows Phone device did just that. After finding out the WP can't connect to our company's IMAP server.
      • In your case it's not an explanation

        it's more of an excuse. I guess 8% anywhere is enough to bother you.

        I like the fake story about the colleague and the IMAP server at the end.

        Nice touch.
        William Farrel
    • Eastern Europe

      You can hardly walk more than a block before a Lumia commercial jumps on top of you. Telecoms are pouring Nokia commercials everywhere too.... There seems to be huge marketing push in Europe. I guess MSFT is paying....
    • I tend to see a similar phenomenon here in the US

      in which Android supposedly has the top spot in terms of market share, and yet what I see everywhere I look are iPhones.

      Where are these mystical Android phones I have heard so much about? /s
      John Zern
    • We're talking about the CURRENT situation

      At the moment every 12. smartphone sold in Germany runs WP.
      It's clear that you see more Androids/iPhones as they're sold already for a long time, so the absolute number of those devices is much higher.

      But it's growing! I see more and more WP devices now.
      And I bought one for me (920) and my wife (620) and we're absolutely satisfied.
      Especially my wife had a lot of problems with her Android device as it was too complicated for her!
    • Personally

      I've seen 3 WP devices in the wild vs a wide array of Android devices and iOS devices. I'm glad to see marketshares for all go up. I have yet to see a BB 10 device in the wild although an old school coworker of mine still clings to his BB Curve running BB OS 6.
    • Dumped in the channel vs. sold to customers

      The Surface RT was doing fine until Microsoft had to acknowledge that all those devices dumped into the channel didn't sell to end-users - and take a $900M write down.

      Anyone know if WP has a binary level API yet (or is it still HTML, CSS and JavaScript)?
  • italy

    I'm visiting my family in Italy (WP share is about 8%) and I've seen a lot of them, especially the nokia lumia 520
    Marcello Porcu